Wednesday, 31 December 2014

End of Month View December 2014

I do hope that everyone linking in with Helen's End of Month View meme has had a very Merry Christmas and are now veering towards some sort of normality.  If you are one of those, unlike myself, that has bags of stamina and still celebrating - well done you!  Just Hogmanay to get over and done with now.  I'm beginning to feel my age now and am almost embarrassed to say that I don't quite celebrate New Year as I once did.  We Scots are renowned the world over for our, often excessive, exuberant New Year Celebrations.  So much so that it's only us Scots here in the UK that has January 2nd designated as a public holiday...hic!

November 2014 
Until today, we've had a constant frost for the last week or so.  Temperatures haven't dropped too much but they haven't risen either.  It's almost full circle in so far as this bed is concerned.  Work began on preparing the area this week last year.  It's been a quick year.  The border has come a long way and I look forward to seeing how it changes in the coming years.  Committing to this post at the end of each month has I think provided me with a great for reference point.

The bed at the end of November still had a very Autumnal feel too it, with the odd summer flower still remaining.  Most of the perennials were cut back at the beginning of the month and I managed a fair bit of weeding.  I am one of those gardeners that feels the need to cut back plants at this time of the year - the last man standing, so to speak is the Verbena bonariensis. I continue to hope that it will seed itself elsewhere,  success in having this plant set seed in the garden is something that has eluded me for the previous 4 years.  Will 2015 be any different I wonder.

End of Month View December 2014
Cornus cuttings
The blackbirds soon made short shrift of those bright orange Pyracantha berries on the back fence.  You can just make out the red stems of the Cornus.  They are kind of difficult to see against the dark brown of the fence.  Which is a shame because those stems really are beautiful when the sun hits them.  I was kindly sent some cutting material a few weeks ago for a yellow stemmed Cornus by Frances up there on Island Threads (thank you Frances) - this is one change I am definitely going to make.  They are currently tucked in under the Pyracantha where they can do what they need to do.  I've never tried Cornus cuttings before, so I am excited to see how they do.  I think the yellow will show up far better than the red against that fence. 

The fence and trellis are still rather bare but that's only to be expected so early on in scheme of things but the Photinia Red Robin I spent so much time being negative about at the beginning of the year has put on a good amount of growth as is already a foot or so above the height of the trellis.  Photinia fraseri Red Robin can be a rather fickle plant here in Scotland so it's best not to form too much of an attachment too it.  Philadelphus Belle Etoile is still holding tight to some of her foliage and I took the opportunity to lop out a few of the older stems.  I am hoping it will benefit the plant by giving it a better shape and those arching stems are not so dense looking next year.     

Other evergreen elements in this border are a Heuchera, Bergenia and Chionochloa.  They are 3 plants I like individually but am not convinced about them being placed together here.  The colours all work well together, they were exactly as I saw in my mind's eye but something is bugging me and I can't quite put my finger on it.

Chionochloa rubra, Bergenia Overture and unnamed Heuchera
The 3 specimens of Papaver orientale Patty's Plum that were planted back in March, promptly curled up their toes and disappeared - I feared I had lost them.  I'm pleased all three have reappeared, they were sizable specimens and were not cheap!  The Cardoon is also still adding a bit of structure, how this will fair when it thaws out is anyone guess, I suspect it will become a mound of mush.  In a normal year I would usually protect the crown of this plant with straw but last year was not normal and this year it's quite sizable and mature enough to cope with the elements.   

Frosty Oriental Poppy foliage
There is little else going on up there right now, the Crocus are of a good height and should be the first too bloom in spring, hopefully the Hellebores won't be far behind them.  I've also spied a little clump of snowdrops that has appeared at the back of this border.  Try as I might, I cannot recall moving any snowdrops up here.   

As the time focussed on this border draws to an end, my thoughts now turn to which part of the garden I want to showcase for 2015.  I have no projects in hand - everything I wanted to achieve in the garden this year has been accomplished.   A new project/opportunity will present itself, this I have no doubt.  The weather has not allowed those niggling ideas in my mind to develop to a full blown project.  On that basis, I have narrowed down two areas of the garden that are contenders for my post come January.  The front garden is currently my favoured area, closely followed by the shady bed I reshuffled in autumn.  We shall see what takes my fance come the end of January.

All that is left now is for me to thank Helen for being such a welcoming host and invite you to join us all in 2015.

Finally, I wanted to share with you the good news I am ending the year with.  I am to be a Grandma for the first time at the beginning of July.  We are excited to welcome a new member to our small family.  Since my brothers kids were all born overseas, it's been a long time since we've had a baby in our midst!  25 years to be precise.  I'm sure it's just like riding a bike.  As well as the baby too look forward to, there's the next 6 months of my eldest niece telling me that if I'm lucky she might move in to help with the baby sitting!  I'm not so sure a screaming baby and a hormonal 13 year old does it for me and luck just doesn't come into it.

All the very best when the New Year comes!  See you all next year!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Wishes

Wishing you and yours
love peace and happiness this Christmas
may your dreams and gardens blossom in 2015

Friday, 19 December 2014

Wildlife in winter

During the winter months, as gardeners, we offer supplementary food and water for the birds visiting our gardens.  We provide boxes for birds to roost in during the colder months.  We leave log piles and compost heaps so hedgehogs have a secure spot to hibernate, along with mounds of leaves and other decaying matter which gives insects shelter and food at this time of the year.  A healthy garden has a wide range of wildlife, some good, some bad and some we are completely indifferent towards.  

It's often the creatures we don't regularly see at this time of the year that tend to be forgotten.  Here in the UK and I am sure it will be the same where ever in this world you are if you garden in a temperate climate , a few species of moths and butterflies will over winter as adults in the safety of our evergreen plants or even in our sheds and homes.  Evergreen trees, shrubs and plants are considered the backbone of the winter garden, providing interest and structure around the garden, however, to these Lepidopterans, they are vital for their survival.  So while you are out gathering greenery, hacking at the holly or infiltrating the Ivy - these evergreens, Ivy in particular - be vigilant and spare them a thought.   Your leafy table display - is their safety haven.

Species that overwinter, here in the UK, as dormant adults include the butterflies Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Comma and moths such as the Twenty-plume Moth, Red-green Carpet, Tissue, Sword-grass, Herald and Bloxworth Snout.  If you come across a dormant moth or butterfly, providing it is in a dry sheltered spot, please leave it where it is.

Adult peacock butterfly in my garden winter 2012

Aglais io (European Peacock Butterfly)
summer 2012

Monday, 15 December 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day 2014

It's the final bloom day post of 2014 and it seems a couple of plants are ending the year exactly as the started it - in bloom.  The great year has in fact returned to a winter I am much more accustomed to. We are experiencing frosty conditions, thankfully nothing too bad and the lowest temperatures have been a warm -1°!  Snow has been falling and lying elsewhere but thus far, my garden has escaped it.

There really isn't a lot going on right now, which is a good thing, as I'm currently up to my armpits in cards, wrapping paper and sellotape.  I put down the scissors for a wee while and got myself out into the fresh air.

The witch hazel has been throwing out the odd bloom here and there since October but has finally started to get it's act in gear this month.  I love those copper-orange ribbons.  They are a real treat at this time of the year.  What Jelena lacks in autumn colour, more than makes up for in winter blooms.

Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena
The Mahonia on the other hand has been flowering profusely since the beginning of October.  The starlings have devoured all the berries that remained on the bottom half of the plant.  I've given up on ever getting the scent from this shrub.

Mahonia x media Charity
The third shrub still producing flowers this month is Viburnum tinus Eve Price - like the Hamamelis and Mahonia, started flowering back in October.  As you can see there are still loads more to come - it will be interesting to see how many months they can feature in Bloom Day Posts.  The record holder this year is the Persicaria that has featured in 5 of them.

Viburnum tinus Eve Prince

Lack of light makes photographing the blooms extremely difficult, particularly white flowers.  They seem to glare in what little light there is.  Mrs MacNamara is still in bud.  New to the garden last year, I'm pleased to see I am going to have 2 flowers this year.  Sitting beneath the berberis - the flower stems have a slight list.  Since she is one of the earliest to appear I wonder if the reason for this is the fact that the deciduous shrubs are still in leaf when it emerges and it reaches out for light at that time.  I need to look into this and perhaps find a spot that is a bit more open.  Thanks to Chloris over at The Blooming Garden, I've also discovered that this snowdrop, named after Dylan Thomas's mother in law is sometimes referred to as G. Milkwood.  I am not familiar with Dylan Thomas's work but know enough to recognise the Milkwood connection.  

Galanthus elwesii Mrs MacNamara
I blinked and almost missed the first of the Hellebore to flower this winter.  A lesson I learned last year was that the hellebores with variegated/interesting foliage look much better in bloom with their leaves remaining (I used to cut them all back), I just couldn't help myself this afternoon - I cut the foliage away.  I hope I won't regret that!  I obviously missed some earlier flowers too.  

Helleborus x sterni White Beauty
Regular readers will know that no blog from my garden would be complete without the odd bloom out of season.  There is never a month goes by without something or other flowering when it shouldn't.  I kind of like the suspense of the days preceding bloom day to see what will be in bloom for each post. I also love the fact that like me, my plants don't read many gardening books, blooming when they feel fit rather than when the experts say they should.    

Roses flowering here in winter is a common sight.  In fact, going round the neighbours delivering Christmas cards earlier today, I spotted lots of folks with roses flowering right now.  Many of the roses in the front garden are abundant with buds, others with single buds - the race is on for roses to bloom in January.  Of course, that will all depend on Mother Nature - it's out of my control.

Roses blooming in the garden today are both climbers.  The race to the top of the Pergola has finally been won.  The Wedgewood Rose, blooms far from perfect, is a reminder of summer past.

Rosa The Wedgewood Rose (Ausjosiah)
 Doing exactly as it says on the tin - Rosa Warm Welcome - is exactly that!
Rosa Warm Welcome (Chewizz)
Whilst most of the hardy geraniums are long gone, the tiny vivid blooms of Bill Wallis are just not for giving up quite yet.  You can also just make out a few magenta pink blooms of Potentilla Ron Mcbeath in the background.

Also known as 'The Beacon' the brilliant red blooms, admittedly, not quite so brilliant nor red - Achillea Fanal sprawls out over onto the lawn in the front garden.

Achillia Fanal (syn. The Beacon) 
The last hazy reminder of summer is a plant that was moved from the back garden round to the front garden, where drainage there is better suited to it's needs, back at the end of summer.  Verbascum Clementine is listed as a short lived perennial, so whether or not it returns next year is anyone's guess really.

Verbascum Clementine
I purchased some Digitalis Milk Chocolate for the front garden at the beginning of autumn, which should, theoretically bloom next year.  It is presently giving me just a little taster of things to come.
When I say little, I truly mean little, the tiny flower stem is around 6 inches high and producing perfect blooms in miniature.

Digitalis parviflora Milk Chocolate
Well, that's my lot this December Bloom Day.  If you fancy more then please head over to May Dream Gardens where bloggers from around the world share what's blooming in their garden on the 15th of each month.

Monday, 1 December 2014

End of Month View November 2014

End of October 2014
Keeping his beady eye on me, Mr Blackbird, watches with interest as I interrupt his lunch break.  Without fail, at around 2 o'clock every afternoon he appears for his fill of Pyracantha berries.  Mrs Blackbird however, is quite elusive at the moment.  I've seen her no more than 4 or 5 times since they returned to the garden a couple of weeks ago.  Whether or not they are the same pair that visited last year is anyone's guess really - I like to think that they are and feel privileged that they have.  

End of November 2014
Bobby Blackbird

I donned the wellies and mowed the lawn last week.  It really did need it.   I could not bear to look at it anymore.  It was in parts very long and as I would expect at this time of the year, damp.  Thankfully the spot that gets shown for the End of Month's View is presentable - the shadier side, is having a bit of a bad hair week!  It will pick itself up, eventually!

I has surprised me at just how much green is left up here.  Both the Philadelphus and Cotinus have yet to drop their leaves.  Of the herbaceous perennials lingering, the Cardoon is by far looking rather confussed this November/December time.  Minus the autumn colours of Cotinus Golden Spirit to the rear, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a different time of the year. 

Caroon foliage end of November 2014
As per last month's post, plants still hanging onto some blooms are: Verbena bonariensis, Geum Bell Bank, Persicaria JS Caliente, Lupins and Rosa Warm Welcome.

Up on the top tier, I've put in a bit of a temporary path.   I had some redundant stone edgers lying around, which had been bought a few years ago for a long gone project, I've used these to create a narrow path up on which I can walk without getting too muddy.   Just how practical they will turn out to be is anyone's guess but for now, they are doing a job and make it far easier to navigate around up there.  The little dog leg of edgers off to the right provides something solid under foot for when I refill the log feeder. 


Both the Cotonoeasters that were planted to provide fence coverage are doing well and have put on a fair bit of growth in their first year.  The autumn colour on one is far more prominent that the other.  I will take a few years before they soften the fence but I'm pleased thus far.

Cotoneaster horizontalis

Persicaria, Chionochloa and Cotoneaster
I pointed out above that the Cotinus is holding on to it's leaves this winter.  Those gold/burnished gold tones really do stand out where ever you are in the garden.  Another that will only get better in time, me thinks!

Cotinus coggygria Golden Spirit
Under the Pyracantha on the back fence, Crocus are well above the surface.  I'm sure we'll get a cold snap to stop them dead in their tracks before too long.  I had completely forgot that I had purchased a few pots of bulbs in bloom last spring - I checked back on one of my earlier posts and as well Crocus, there are some Iris here too, no signs of those yet though.

Crocus chrysanthus Romance

Before I pop over to The Patient Gardener's Weblog, too see what's going on in your garden, I thought you might like to see what I came across yesterday elsewhere in the garden.

Galanthus elwesii Mrs MacNamara
I had been told that Mrs MacNamara was one that would flower early but I hadn't quite expected it this early.  Do you grow Galanthus elwesii Mrs MacNamara?  If so, is she early in your garden too?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day November 2014

Unsurprisingly there are more blooms this November than last.  The extended warm days and nights have helped a lot I think.  We are now experiencing a more November like feel, yet the thermometer contradicts that!  We've only had a couple of measly little frosts and they've had no effect on the plants at all.

As well as sharing what's blooming in my garden, I'm using this post as a useful record of what I've been getting up to in the garden this last couple of weeks.

The shadier side of the gravel area has seen the removal of the small pond.  Half of this bed had been planted up in my previous post but everything is in and has been settling in.  I will not begin to see the fruits of my labour until spring.  It doesn't sound too far away if you say it fast, does it!

For obvious reasons, I can no longer call this border The Pond Bed, therefore it has been renamed The Mahonia Bed.  OK, The Mahonia Bed may be a tad unimaginative but it does exactly as it says on the tin.

The Mahonia Bed
Much to my surprise delight Anemone Andrea Atkinson has finally managed to open some blooms. Seen here mingling with Astrantia Ruby Wedding.  The Heuchera have been flowering all summer.  I moved Heuchera Binoche here 3 weeks ago and it didn't even flinch.  If you are in the market for a very dark, almost black leafed Heuchera, I can thoroughly recommend it.  Heuchera Marmalade is also flowering but I couldn't get a decent shot of it in the light available.

Left to Right: Astrantia Ruby Wedding, Anemone x hybrid Andrea Atkinson, Heuchera Paris
Mahonia x media Charity, Astrantia Snow Star and Heuchera Binoche

On the opposite side, the Bumble Bee border, has also been extended.  In all honesty, I think I was perhaps a bit too cautious at the time I carried out the work.  I'd have gotten away with adding more depth to the middle section.  The young Hawthorn tree planted earlier this year, will at some point in the future dictate the way this bed is planted but for now, there is still plenty of room to enjoy the perennials.  I've cleared out a few that were, quite frankly, clashing in terms of colour and replaced them with new Roses.  The two Escallonias that had struggled along have been removed.  For fence cover I'll be relying on Clematis and Honeysuckle.  Other than the Astrantia flowering in the back corner, you'd be hard pushed to see many blooms right now but there are one or two.  I'm also trying out the bird feeders here.  The lawn up in the top end of the garden has only just recovered from last year's mess.  I'm hoping that the sprouting seeds will be far easily removed from the gravel.  Despite the fact I do buy 'no mess' bird feed, this is indeed not the case.  Where it is now will also make replenishing the feeders far easier, especially when the weather is bad.

Campanula poscharskyana, Sanguisorba obtusa, Astrantia Buckland and Potentilla nepalensis Ron McBeath
Clematis texensis Princess Diana

Fuchsia magellanica Alba
Through the arch and into the back garden proper, The Wedgewood Rose continues to put on buds but sadly, when they open, they are not lasting very long.
The Wedgewood Rose
On the shadier side, the Enkianthus autumn colour has finally arrived.  Digitalis x mertonensis is still flowering and the Lupin blooms, which are a bit misshapen due to the fact that the stems had been caught under the Enkianthus.

Digitalis x mertonensis and Lupinus The Page
Emma and Eve!  Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton and Viburnum Eve Price that is, happily bloom together this November time.  I rather like them together.  Earlier in the year, Emma was paired with the blooms from some Heuchera and Sedum.  This little corner has really pleased me this year.  

Rosa Lady Emma Hamilton and Viburnum tinus Eve Price
Providing a little greenery in front of the shed, a selection of evergreens (in containers) along with a yellow chrysanthemum and some white lavender continues too bloom.  It's difficult to get a picture of the yellow chrysanths as the sun just glares against those yellow blooms.

Chrysanthemum and Lavender flowers in November
 At the other end of the deck, my miniature garden sits and basks in the sun all day long.  The alpine wallflower, Erysimum kotschyanum, is enjoying the extended good weather.  Those little yellow blooms look just like miniature yellow butterflies.  It's full of buds, a few more sunny days and they might all open.

Erysimum kotschyanum
The top border, which is the subject of my EOMV, I cut down the Helianthus and Cardoon.  You can now see the top tier clearly from the house.  Climbing rose, Warm Welcome, really doesn't belong up there.  My attempt at growing this rose together with Clematis montana has been a bit of a disaster.  The more I look at it, the more I can see how pruning is going to be an issue and even more so when the Cotinus grows up!  The Verbena bonariensis has been left in the hope that it self seeds.  I do this each year and each year it doesn't happen.  I always have to end up replacing the plants.  Luckily they are not too expensive.  Lupins and Persicaria are also still flowering away.

Rosa Warm Welcome, Lupins and Persicaria
Yet another clump of Persicaria flowering a bit further round.  Geum Bell Bank has spread out nicely, a bit too nicely and is just about to smother Bergenia Overture.  Note to self: find the Bergenia another home in spring.       

Persicaria JS Caliente and Geum Bell Bank blooming in November

Lady's mantle flowers continue to bloom beneath the Heptacodium.  The Heptacodium shows little signs that it's autumn other than the fact it has finished flowering.  When it's finished flowering the red sepals are supposed to remain for some time.  I've never experienced this as they just don't seem to appear.     

There's not a heck of a lot going on in the side garden right now.  It's mainly about the foliage right now but a few Cyclamen flowers are lingering and a late flowering Saxifrage.  It does suffer somewhat with the wind and never quite puts on as good a show as the other Saxifrage that bloom profusely in containers. 

Cyclamen hederifolium and Saxifraga fortune Blackberry and Apple Pie

The new layout of the front garden makes it's Blog Debut this November.  I've been working away in the front garden since early summer.  Some of the roses are still flowering away.  Namely, Lady of Shalott, The Lark Ascending and Port Sunlight. 

Front garden almost complete November 2014

I think my garden has exceeded all expectations this November.  It's nice to still have a few reminders of summer.  I thank you for joining me in a wee stroll around the garden and all that's left is for me to invite you over to May Dream Gardens where bloggers from around the world share what's blooming in their garden on the 15th of every month.   See you there! 


Sunday, 9 November 2014

One, two, tree!

A brief chat with my neighbour Jim the other day, consisted of the usual pleasantries around the family, weather, and gardening, as is usual with these kind of conversations.  We both touched on the subject of the old Birch tree that used to stand between his and another neighbour's garden.  Despite it's size, we both kind of miss it.  I'll bet we are not the only ones - the birds probably do too!   It was taken down a couple of years back.

Then, as fate would have it, a few hours later I read Pauline's EOMV, her Birch trees featured heavily.  You can read it here, if you haven't already done so.  Immediately, I remembered falling for her Silver Birch/Cornus winter combo last year and wishing I could replicate it or something similar in my garden.  Back then it was immediately put to the back of my mind.  Maybe one day I'd have a big enough garden in which to give them a go.

A visit to my local nursery, Binny Plants, whilst taking my youngest niece home following a weekend sleepover, would fill my Sunday just nicely.  It's sometime a bit too handy that it's en route to my brother's house, or on the way home, depending on how you like to look at these things.

I had planned to fill the now redundant space behind the shed with a new tree.  I noticed earlier this year that he had a couple of Kashmir Rowan trees in stock.  Sorbus cashmiriana and it's white berries would do the job.  Something a bit different.  There are plenty red and yellow berries elsewhere in the garden, this would make a nice change.  After getting there, I was disappointed to learn that he had sold out and if at all it would be next year until they are back in stock.  Ach well, I'll just have to wait!

Billy, the nursery owner and I stood and had a wee blether, seeing as the nursery was very quite.  It usually is at this time of the year.  I was admiring the red Cornus stems and how they stood out in the low afternoon sun down at the bottom of his garden, where it borders part of the Golf Course.  I then commented about Pauline's Birch/Cornus combo I saw the other day and how I'd love a white stemmed birch in the garden but felt I hadn't the room.  As luck would have it  he told me that they had some purple leafed birches that would eventually have white peeling bark and that it's size might be better suited to my garden.  Betula Crimson Frost were new in stock, which explains why I hadn't noticed them before.   They are narrow and very upright and not nearly as large as some Silver Birches.  I walked over to have a look. Not that there was much too look at, they were rather small and of course at this time of the year completely naked!  I asked myself 3 question.  Was I particularly after one with green foliage? Considering I hadn't gone shopping for a birch tree, foliage green or otherwise never crossed my mind!  Could I live with the Purple foliage?  No brainer, I do like plants with purple folage. Finally, Could I make room?  Make room?  I had the perfect spot which had been cleared for the Laburnum back in spring but since I chose to plant the Laburnum elsewhere, I had filled the gap temporarily with a couple of perennials.  You bet I can make the room!  Sold!  Fate has played a big part in choosing this plant, I just hope it likes my garden.  It will be a few year before it's big enough to be partnered with a red stemmed Cornus and a few more after that before it makes some real impact in the garden but it's good to have something to look forward too.      

When I had finished paying and making my way over to the car, I decided I'd take the long route home and visit another favourite nursery, New Hopetoun Gardens.  Those of you in the UK familiar with BBC Gardening programme, Beechgrove Garden, will know only too well that one of the presenters is the wife of the owner of this independant garden centre.  I might find the Sorbus in stock there.  Indeed I did find the Sorbus in stock.  I chose not to hang around as it had just started raining and I didn't have a jacket with me.  It really is great to have such top quality nurseries less than a 10 minute drive from the house.

Here they are, certainly not much to look at right now.  The Sorbus to the left is a great deal bigger that the twig that is the Birch Tree.  I think the phrase is 'they have potential'.  Tomorrow's job is to get both of them in the ground.  Thankfully it's still warm enough for planting.  It's not often we get a chance to plant out in November here in Scotland.

Sorbus cashmiriana and Betula Crimson Frost
It amazes me that this pencil thin chocolate brown, almost black stem, will become a beautiful white, peeling trunk in a just few years time.  Isn't nature wonderful?  I have to admit though, that I was a wee bit disappointed that they take so long to turn white.  I had no idea before today that this was the case.   Every day's a school day, eh?

Stem Betula Crimson Frost
A solitary leaf lingers long enough for me to get it home and take a shot.  I can see now just how it earned it's name.

Betula Crimson Frost

I can't believe that in a matter of 10 months I've gone from a garden with no trees to a garden with 5 trees.  That of course might be 2 or 3 trees too many, I might never know - I'm not getting any younger am I?  Why shouldn't I enjoy a few trees right now, I should have planted them 4 years ago when I first set this garden out!  If the worse comes to the worst, I'll be looking to employ a tree surgeon!

I wonder, has fate ever played a part in choosing a specific plant for your garden?  Do tell us?  As if impulse buying isn't costly enough, I now need to contend with fate when I go plant shopping!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Recycling stepping stones

Some of you might remember the incident I had with the whirligig early in the year.  A brief reminder for those that don't - I tripped over my own feet and went crashing into it.  I not only completely snapped the metal post at surface level, rendering it completely useless, I lost a crown and cracked my front tooth into the bargain!    

Purchasing a new whirly, brought with it the opportunity to find it a new spot in the garden.  Where it had previously been sited, was at one point, in the dim and distant past the most practical place for it. That did however mean that planting in the area had to be dictated to allow for the laundry to waft freely.  This was not conducive to my ever increasing plant collection and certainly did not help in my urge to deepen and widen borders to make room for them.

A new spot further up the garden was chosen and in it went.  It's new position worked really well all summer and the fact that I chose one which hoists up means that it is not hampered by anything.  I gave myself a pat on the back, as you often do.

All was going well, until it rained rather heavily.  A few rainy days later, it was apparent that I needed some sort of solid surface on which to stand when loading and unloading the whirly.  The grass beneath was getting heavily compacted and further use, especially in winter/spring, would mean the whole area would become a quagmire.

I had some Marshall's Heritage paving slabs that I had previously from lifted from elsewhere in the garden. I was going to offer them up on Freecycle but never quite got round to it.   My forgetfulness paid off, it means I don't have to cough up for new slabs now.  They are, or will be, sandstone colour when I manage to get the power washer on to them.

Over the weeks between September to October, I tried out the individual pavers in different positions/spacing, moving them around until I got a layout that was practical.  The offset T route seemed to work best coming through the arch.  I continued positioning the slabs right up to the decking, it allows a natural flow straight from the house right up to the back of the garden now.

I've still got to lift the turf and sink them down level this will allow me to run the lawn mower right over the top of them when I mow the lawn.  The lawn that had suffered by my previous design attempt has now fully recovered - you'd never know it had been starved of sunlight for a couple of weeks.

All I need do now is work on a vista to the left of the step leading up to the deck.  But that is something for another day and another project.